Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dining In Delta's Business Elite, Redux

Daisy and Emma enjoy the good life in Business Elite.

Ever wonder how much better the food is in first class?

Daisy, Emma, and I are Delta frequent flyers, and every once in a while we cash in our miles and upgrade to first class, or Business Elite, as Delta calls it.

In September 2010, I wrote about the last time I did this, flying with my mom as I took her back home to Maryland after she fell and broke her hip in Prague. And I just did it again, flying with Daisy and Emma from Prague to Gainesville, Florida, for the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

(I'm happy to report that my mom is doing great, by the way.)

What'd they serve us in Business Elite?

For an appetizer, a Mini Corn Cake With Salmon, Asparagus and Pickled Onion, and Cream of Onion Soup. I also enjoyed a glass of their house bourbon, Woodford Reserve, on the rocks.

The corn cake suffered from a classic airline food faux paus. It was too cold and dense. But the onion soup was delicious.

That was followed by a second course of Fresh Mesclun Salad, with Sweet Peppers, Radishes and Walnuts. A surprisingly good salad at 36,000 feet. The greens were fresh, the radishes and walnuts crisp.

For the main course, I chose the Grilled Beef Tenderloin, with Peppercorn Sauce, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Sauteed Spinach. I told the flight attendant that I'd like mine medium rare. That gets a laugh every time. They love me up there.

Much better, of course, than what you'd get in coach class, but this particular tenderloin left much to be desired. Well done, lukewarm and rather flavorless. (The Seared Beef Tenderloin with demi-glace sauce, wasabi mashed potatoes, and sugar snap peas that I had on my return flight was excellent, however. It can be done!)

With my steak, I had what was probably a bottle's worth of Casillero Diablo Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from Chile. I love Chilean reds, and this was no exception. The onboard menu describes it as being Bordeaux-like, with dusty cedar, lead pencil scents, and dark cassis fruit. I'll concur on the dark cassis fruit. But lead pencil scents? Love it!

For dessert, I opted for the Selection of Fine Cheeses with Fresh Fruit, instead of the Chocolate Tart or the Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae, the latter of which I had on the return leg.

A lovely selection of unidentified fromage. Although they could be more generous with the crackers. (I'm sure they'd have given me more if I'd only asked.)

I also had a few glasses of dessert wine -- Pacific Rim Riesling, Vin de Glaciere 2007, from the Selenium Vineyard in Washington state. Though I love deep, chewy reds, I'm also a sucker for dessert wines, and this Pacific Rim tasted like the nectar of the gods.

For the so-called pre-arrival meal, I tucked into an excellent Hot Turkey and Cheddar Cheese Sandwich with Carmelized Onions and Peppers and a Carrot and Raisin Salad. I thoroughly enjoyed this sandwich. It would not have been out of place at any decent American deli. Kudos.

The service on our flight from Paris to Atlanta on December 16 was top-notch. Hats off to that particular Delta crew.

I'm still waiting for Delta to upgrade its comfortable but rather tired Business Elite cabins on all of their planes. They're in the middle of a fleetwide upgrade, but I have yet to actually fly an updated cabin, probably because I fly out of Prague, mostly, and not London or Singapore.

The Business Elite cabins feel very 1995 to me. Hard to complain, though, when you're enjoying a fine bourbon and watching "Curb Your Enthusiasm" on your personal video screen. Can't wait for the next time.

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